Sarkozy cabinet defends president pay rise
31 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet Wednesday defended a decision to more than double the French president's salary, saying he deserved to earn as much as the leaders of Germany or Britain.
31 October 2007
PARIS (AFP) - Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet Wednesday defended a decision to more than double the French president's salary, saying he deserved to earn as much as the leaders of Germany or Britain.
Parliament on Tuesday adopted a budget amendment increasing Sarkozy's pay cheque from its current level of 100,000 euros (145,000 dollars) per year, to around 230,000 -- within the European average for a head of state.
The Socialist opposition has been quick to point out that Sarkozy campaigned on a promise to raise living standards in France, where half the population earns less than 1,500 euros per month.
"Nicolas Sarkozy told us that boosting purchasing power was a priority. We hadn't understood he meant for himself," Socialist deputy Stephane Le Foll told a press conference.
Sarkozy has defended his decision saying: "I want transparency. I want the French people to know".
Elysee secretary general Claude Gueant said Sarkozy would earn "a bit less than his predecessor" Jacques Chirac, who also drew a pension for a previous government job, and "still less" than the leaders of Germany, Britain or the United States.
"It seemed normal, including to the Socialists, for the president's salary not to be lower than that of the prime minister," he said.
Government spokesman Laurent Wauquiez said Sarkozy's salary would be 15 to 20 percent below what Chirac used to earn.
The amendment also tripled the spending of the presidency -- which traditionally drew at will on the staff and resources of other ministries but will now have its own budget.
Gueant insisted the "consolidation" of Elysee spending would make it available for public scrutiny.
But Le Foll accused the Elysee of boosting overall spending by 10 million euros, under cover of the budget reform.
Subject: French news